Learn How to Make an Insect Collection--Online and During UC Davis Picnic Day

Apr 17, 2015

So, you want to make an insect collection?

How do you begin? Where do you start?

Distinguished Professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology led a class on how to do just that several years ago.  Under his direction, UC Davis students crafted a playlist of 11 short videos on insect-collecting. 

The project, considered the best-of-its-kind on the Internet, won an award from the 7000-member  Entomological Society of America.

The videos are online but if you attend the UC Davis Picnic Day on Saturday, April 18, you can see the continuous loop of videos being played from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Fliers printed with the URL and QR codes also will be available.

The entire series can be viewed in less than 10 minutes. The clips range in length from 32 seconds to 77 seconds.

“So in less than 10 minutes, someone can learn how to make an insect collection,” Carey said. The clips are tightly scripted, with an emphasis on brevity, simplicity and low cost."

Making an insect collection is a rite of passage for many, as it's often required in high school science classes. Scores of others use the videos. They include college students, professors, UC Master Gardeners and the 4-H youth development program.

Making the insect-collection module was a low tech-low cost operation partly by design. “I wanted production to be ‘low tech' so that anyone who could use a point-and-shoot camera and basic movie-editing software could produce a video clip,” Carey said. ”It needed to be low cost not only because of no funding for the project, but because the basic challenge was to produce a set of high-content-high quality video clips at virtually zero cost."

UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey provided the introductory narration for each clip.  The students chose MovieMaker software (included in the MS Office package) and Sony Vegas Movie Studio. Paul ver Wey, media production manager of the UC Davis Information Educational Technology's Academic Technology Services, taught them the basics of videography and editing; Wes Nelms gave a tutorial on the use of Vegas Movie Studio 

So, stop by Briggs Hall and watch the videos on how to make an insect collection.  Or access them online.

All are posted on YouTube and linked to the department's website.

Part 1:
Hand Collecting  (32 seconds)

Part 2:
Using an Aspirator (34 seconds)

Part 3:
Ground Collecting (54 seconds)

Part 4:
Aquatic Collecting (58 seconds)

Part 5:
Using Nets (58 seconds)

Part 6:
Killing (51 seconds)

Part 7:
Pinning (43 seconds)

Part 8:
Point Mounting (50 seconds)

Part 9:
Labeling Specimens (48 seconds)

Part 10:
Spreading (77 seconds)

Part 11:
Storage and Display (32 seconds)

The 101st annual UC Davis Picnic Day is expected to draw as many as 100,000 visitors campuswide. The focus is on entomology at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.  Briggs Hall includes cockroach races, maggot art, honey sampling, fly-tying, a pollination pavilion and many other activities. The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, is home of nearly eight million insect specimens. On Saturday it will showcase pollination activities and provide many other events under the theme, "The Good, The Bad and the Bugly."